Bleeding Wound: Analyzing Pakistan’s Kashmir Policy

This article analyses Pakistan’s Kashmir policy from1989 to 1995. This period constitutes a new phase inPakistan’s Kashmir policy as it was synchronized with the resurgence of Kashmiri resistancemovement. During the previous two decades Kashmir issue was overlooked because Pakistan wasentangled with many other problems, ranging fromcrisis in East Pakistan to the problems arising fromthe Soviet intervention in Afghanistan. Therefore,Pakistan was providing only lip service by placingrhetorical emphasis on the UN’s resolutionconcerning Kashmir. During 1989-95, Pakistanigovernments tried to align themselves with the‘Kashmir cause’ because not only it was in tune withthe ‘popular sentiments’ but also it was crucial for the very survival of these civilian regimes. The entryof civilian forces in the post-Zia political arena under certain checks and balances of the military elites and non-political actors who kept themselves away from power but not the politics, therefore, the civilian political forces found not other alternative but to tip-toe the agenda scripted by these non-political actorswhich pulled the strings from behind. In thisbackdrop, it becomes quite convenient to develop thehypothesis that Pakistan’s Kashmir policy remained consistent, i.e., it stressed on the solution of Kashmir dispute on the basis of the UN resolutions. Thoughthis objective remained the same yet the strategy to pursue it somewhat underwent an insidious changeas Pakistani authorities through overt and covert support to the Jehadi elements, tried to engage Indiain a low intensity conflict so as to increase the cost of the Indian occupation. Pakistani authorities also found it an effective tool to internationalize the Kashmir dispute. This paper also highlights the maintrajectories of Pakistan’s Kashmir policy likePakistan’s leadership posturing on Kashmir, efforts for public mobilization, Pakistan’s quest for internationalization of Kashmir dispute and endeavors of governments to negotiate withinternational pressures. Besides this, it also analysesthe successes and failures of Pakistan’s Kashmir policy between the years 1989 to 1995 along withexamining the role of forces of status-quo (primarilymilitary establishment, jingoistic press and rightistsand religious parties) and forces of change(extraneous pressures) in defining the dynamics of Pakistan’s foreign policy.

Irfan Waheed Usmani
The Historian January-June 2009 (Volume 7, Number 1)